Cuomo says subways and trains will be suspended starting at 7 p.m. Sunday and buses at 9 p.m.
The city's mass transit system is the nation's largest. The subway alone has a daily ridership of more than 5 million.
Rainfall is expected to start late Sunday or early Monday in New York.
Hurricane Sandy is headed north from the Caribbean to meet a winter storm and a cold front.
Experts say the rare hybrid storm that results will cause havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)